One of my favorite things about going to conventions is getting to talk to fellow artists and people in the industry. I love going to an artist’s table and have them perk up and talk to me, tell me about their projects and techniques, and what they’re excited about. That’s pretty much the best thing ever, and it’s something that makes me a lot more inclined to buy art from them, and come back to see them at subsequent conventions. The thing is, I’m not the only one.
I can’t stress enough how important is to engage the people who show an interest in your art. So often I go and see amazing hart at someone’s booth and they’re so buried in their art that they can barely interact with me. Now, believe me, sometimes I know it’s hard to get con commission done fast and still talk to your customers, and also that some of us are artistic types because we’re not the super gregarious, outgoing types. It’s something that we’ve got to manage in some way or another.
One of the things that I’ve had to adjust is what I offer at cons. I used to offer full color one characters done at cons. Can’t do that anymore! It takes several hours to pencil, ink, and color a drawing that I could squeeze four or maybe five pencils sketches. It’s also a lot easier to step away from a pencil drawing and talk to people and get back to it after I’ve talked to whoever is looking. If someone wants full color or extensive commissions get your money, get their contact info and get it to them the week after the con. That way, you can stay free to engage, and still take the larger projects.
It’s a lot more difficult to overcome shyness, though. I’m shy as hell, but I’ve worked for a really long time to get past that and I’m often confused for someone who isn’t an anti-social crank. HAH! Jokes on them! Trying to engage with someone who you’ve never met before is daunting, especially if they’re complimenting you on your art (damn them!). The tendency to get crazy embarrassed and give a shy smile and a “Thank you” and go back to the picture you’re trying desperately to hide in is overwhelming sometimes. I know, I still do it sometimes too. That’s where I rely on my friends and booth buddies to hop in with the save, “He’s gotta get that commission out in the next thirty minutes. If you like his stuff, grab a print…” etc. There’s a very good reason why you’ve got two passes and two chairs at your table. Everyone needs help.
Remember, you passion is contagious. If you engage your customers and really engage them, they’ll want to take your stuff home, they’ll take a card, and they’ll remember you. Sometimes, you don’t have to be the one they buy from at the con, you have to be the one they remember later. Try and be memorable!
I know you guys are gonna do awesome! Can’t wait to see you on the con circuit next year.